April 18, 2013

Groundskeeper Rick Anderson: Getting it green for the past 20 years

He works in the neighborhood where he grew up, and takes pride in maintaining one of the best ballparks in the league.

By Mike Lowe mlowe@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Rick Anderson likes having the greenest lawn in town.

click image to enlarge

John Ewing/staff photographer... Friday, April 5, 2013....Rick Anderson has been the Sea Dogs' head groundskeeper for all of the team's 20 years.

click image to enlarge

John Ewing/staff photographer... Friday, April 5, 2013....Rick Anderson has been the Sea Dogs' head groundskeeper for all of the team's 20 years.

As head groundskeeper of the Portland Sea Dogs, it’s his job to maintain an immaculate playing field at Hadlock Field for the Double-A baseball team.

Actually, it’s his pleasure.

“There’s an old saying,’’ said Anderson. “Someone else might own it, but it is my yard.’’

And he wants it perfect. Hadlock Field underwent an extensive renovation this year. The entire field was resurfaced. “Everything,’’ said the 59-year-old Anderson. “It was regraded. New irrigation. New sod.’’

And as good as the field looks, Anderson has to make sure it plays well too. “Safety (of the players) comes first,’’ he said. “Aesthetics is second. But it is nice to see the response of people when they see it for the first time.’’

Anderson was working for the city of Portland, taking care of the high school playing fields, when he was approached by the late Bob Ganley at a Shaw’s supermarket. “He told me they were trying to get a Double-A baseball team into Portland and asked if I’d be interested in taking care of it,’’ said Anderson. “I liked the thought of the challenge.

“It’s way different taking care of a high school field and a pro field. Everything has to be right on specs.’’

Anderson took a trip to Pennsylvania to see minor league fields in Reading and Harrisburg. He remembers walking into Reading’s ballpark. “When I saw the field,’’ he said, “I thought, 'This is what I want to achieve in Portland.’ ”

He’s been taking care of Hadlock since, the first 15 years as a city employee, the last five as a Sea Dogs employee. The biggest challenge he faces is Maine’s constantly changing climate.

But he’s learned some tricks, like using a helicopter to dry the opening-day field following one particularly snowy winter and early spring.

Anderson takes great pride in his job, for good reason: “I grew up next to the Portland Expo,’’ he said. “This was my old stomping grounds, right here at the ballpark.’’

He’d like to do this at least another five years. “It’s exciting and you meet great people,’’ he said.

And he gets to show off his lawn.

“People ask me about it all the time,’’ he said. “They want some advice. That’s all part of the experience, the fan interaction.’’

 

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:
mlowe@pressherald.com
Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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